Thursday, 31 January 2013

Outfit Post: The Golden Hour In West Hollywood

There is a time in the late afternoon, just before the sun starts its decent for the night which to the photographer is the best hour of the day; the golden hour. The light is beautiful, 'golden' and it is simply perfect for taking photos in. Obviously, even if we're only wearing something everyday and casual, us bloggers simply can't resist stopping to take some outfit photos, especially if we happen to be strolling down West Hollywood's fashionable 3rd Street on the way back from a bit of shopping at The Grove, at the time!
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Sunglasses: Alexander McQueen c/o Sunglasses Shop, Gold Locket: Gift, Striped Tee: N.W.3 by Hobbs, Grey Wool Skirt: J.Crew, Handbag: Hobbs, Sandals: c/o Havianas, Nail Polish: Essie 'Where's My Chauffeur'

I picked up this amazing wool skirt with a pretty (and practically elasticated) waist in the J.Crew sale at the end of last year, and I find it is perfect for the LA days that are lovely and warm, but are still in Winter months such as January where you still want to be wearing something wooly! This is one of my go to class outfits I like to wear when I know I'm going out later on, and I want to wear something a bit nicer than just a tee shirt and black skinny jeans! You will be seeing a lot of (including a special feature) of these sunglasses from Alexander McQueen - they are a total must in the sunshine here and I've been taking them everywhere with me!

When was the last time you had the absolute perfect light for taking photographs?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

How To Choose The Right Travel Guide For You

As far back as I can remember my first real 'trip' aged 10 where I traveled around Greece with the rest of my Latin class (I'd been to France a lot before that, but I see France as more of a second home, rather than a holiday destination) I have absolutely loved to travel. There are so many European cities that I've been to that I'm just itching to go back to and explore a bit more in depth, and I have been absolutely relishing the opportunity to explore and enjoy everything Los Angeles has had to offer me over the last few months here. Now that I'm older, 'grown up' and a lot more independent  while I'm sure I'm still going to look forward to exploring new places with my parents, I've been thinking a lot more about where I would like to go off and see for myself now that the only thing holding me back from seeing the world is that I have to earn the money to do so for each trip first; and that brings be onto the topic of this blog post; travel guides. 
Image via Garry Pepper Vintage

As you can probably guess, I get most of my information on most topics these days from the internet or from various apps. When people ask me how on earth I find all the restaurants I feature, both in London and in Los Angeles I would have no idea how to list all of the various sources where I get tips, but whenever I'm going to head off to a new city or area, some of the go to travel sources that I always check is the Time Out website for my given destination (I do not know where I would be without Time Out, or their London food twitter feed) as I have got some great food and gallery recommendations from them in the past, the Urbanspoon website if they have one for my destination, as I've found a lot of my restaurants on there (they also have a great app which gives you restaurants nearby depending on your location at the time) and I take a gander at the lovely Petite Passport blog to find places that are a little off the beaten track to check out. But, while I have thousands of websites I can check for fashion or beauty related questions, as far as my travel concerns go, this small list is just about it. Which means I have to resort to traditional travel guide booklets.

When I decided to get a book to read up on some places I ought to visit in Los Angeles last Summer, it was the first time I'd ever purchased a travel guide. I remember taking the DK Travel book on Greece out for the school library when I was a kid before that trip, and we had picked up the same edition guide but for Brittany, the region of France we live in to keep in our French kitchen when we were first getting to know the area, but that was about it with my experience of travel guides. As I was familiar with them, and I'd found them really useful in the past, I had planned to get the same edition of the guide for Los Angeles, but they did not make one. So I was stuck for which guide I should use. It was only when I was standing in a travel bookshop in West Hollywood flipping through different London guides to see what they were recommending tourists should do in my city, I realised the key to choosing the right travel guide for you. 

Before I arrived in Los Angeles, I had chosen the Wallpaper City Guides Guide for LA, and while it had some interesting things to do and see, it did not really suit my tastes and needs in regards to what I like to do and see in a city. The reason I had not got the Time Out guide in the first place while I loved their websites, was because of their websites; I felt I could get everything I wanted for free, online. So, while I was flipping through London guides, I found some of them listed the sort of places I loved to eat at, and I used to frequent, as well as galleries and museums I loved, spots I kept on returning to, and some of them I don't think would have been much use to me if I had been armed with it on a trip to London for the first time. So, when you want to find the perfect travel guide for you for any given destination head to a bookshop, look through all the guides to a city you're really familiar with, pick the one that matches up how you like to spend your time the most, and the chances are very, very high that the guide to your destination from the same collection or series will be best suited to your needs - it is as easy as that, and I'm still kicking myself that I did not think of it before! (On a side note, I came upon this revelation while looking through the Luxe Guides for London and Los Angeles; I'd never seen them before, but if you are looking for something stylish, compact, humorous and with some really cool hangouts listed, I recommend you take a look!)

Where is your dream travel destination, or the next place you are going to be heading off to on your travels?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Joan's On Third, West Hollywood

The problem about not living in London this year, is that I really, really miss eating in and picking up little foodie treats to take home with me from Ottolengi's. However, I think I might have found a pretty fantastic Los Angeles alternative in Joan's on Third; the famous Italian inspired deli on West Hollywood's stretch of 3rd Street. I had a fantastic lunch there sitting at their big communal table, and gazed longingly at all the takeaway goodies in their class cabinets. I think I regret not sampling more of their luscious cakes!
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Their cold salads ans meats display had me standing there for a very, very long time trying to decide what to have for lunch. In the end I decided to go for one of their sandwiches off of the board, as looking around me everyone munching on one looked very, very satisfied. However, I feel I will be popping back in for some salads to take away with me and eat at home the next time I find myself in the area!
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I ended up going for their Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Roasted Pepper sandwich, and I chose to have it on toasted French bread. While all the bread in Joan's was nice and authentic  most American bread has so much sugar and preservative packed into it I've got into the habit of ordering French style bread most of the time; it is the one they screw up the least! Based on this sandwich, I will also be having more Joan's sandwiches in the future; it was divine and very filling - if I had not been so hungry at the time, I might have taken the second half of it away with me to eat for dinner that night - talk about American portion sizes!
Evie ordered an incredible slice of Joan's carrot cake. I wish I'd had the carrot cake too. She offered me a bite, and I have to say that it is the very best carrot cake I have ever tasted in my entire life. I need the recipe in my life. If you are at all a carrot cake fan you live in Los Angeles, or you are coming to Los Angeles any time soon, you need to make the pilgrimage. The cake is rich, delicious and moist. The frosting is sweet, without being too sweet and it looks absolutely incredible on the plate. My mouth is watering even writing about it!

Angelenos, what is your favourite thing to order from Joan's on Third? Is there anything you'd really recommend to me? My roommate says the Lemon Slices are also divine. Joan's on Third can be found at 8350 West 3rd Street.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Outfit Post: Sunglasses by Alexander McQueen & Win A Pair Of Designer Sunglasses From The Sunglasses Shop

While in England during Winter you sometimes need to don sunglasses for something like driving, for most of the year your favourite frames stay stowed away for most of the year waiting for the few days of true Summer sunshine was can enjoy each year. However, due to not just the weather, but due to the quality and the brightness of the light, here in Southern California I have found that sunglasses are a necessary accessory the whole year around, which means I can indulge in loads of different shapes and styles of designer sunglasses without feeling I'm going overboard! Also, I wish to note at the outset that the style and my outfit in these pictures may seem a little familiar; the wonderful Nicole Anderson was awesome enough to shoot this feature after we'd finished shooting the pictures for my Portraiteer interview. Didn't she do an amazing job?
The Alexander McQueen sunglasses featured in this post were a kind gift from online sunglasses retailer Sunglasses Shop and I have been wearing them absolutely everywhere. They are the perfect style for me; I love the tortoiseshell and the little design details and that they tint the Los Angeles clouds and sunsets a beautiful hue so that the world around me looks like a skyscape from a Renaissance painting, but with the edition of Southern Californian palm trees. Oversized sunglasses are a very LA thing, so they also help me blend in!
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Sunglasses: Alexander McQueen c/o Sunglasses Shop, Necklace: Hobbs, Trench Coat: United Colours Of Benetton c/o Zalando, Top: Boden, Skirt: Whistles

As well as gifting me these sunglasses, the guys at Sunglasses Shop want to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win a pair of sunglasses from the Vogue collection. The giveaway is via Rafflecopter form as usual, but the giveaway is open Worldwide (I promised you there would be a giveaway that everyone could enter soon!) and all you have to do is be a follower of this blog via Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect, like 'Rachel Phipps' on Facebook, and like 'Sunglasses Shop' on Facebook and leave a comment on the Sunglasses Shop Facebook wall with the words 'Enter Rachel Phipps' Vogue Giveaway included in your comment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Where are your favourite pair of sunglasses from?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Style Inspiration: A New Year, A New Watch

It is still January, so I can still technically be writing New Year posts, right? I've already written about how I feel the new year calls for a new pair of shoes, but recently I've found myself looking at peoples wrists when I first meet them. We're all familiar with the now classic arm party by now, but I now have a new obsession to spy; beautiful chunky watches. I think the reason I'm so obsessed with other peoples wrist wear at the moment, is I know I won't ever wear a big chunky watch myself; I hate having something bulky weighing my wrists or hands down (I don't wear rings either, and the big bandage currently adorning my left index finger as the result of a rather interesting incident while I was out to brunch one Sunday morning is driving me up the wall!); I'm perfectly happy with my tiny Citizen dress watch thank you very much!
While fashion styles used to be in Vogue, now I think it is more about the very metallic, classic everyday but still chunky watch (you can get lots of designer styles on sites like this), as shown here on Brooklyn Blond. I love how her watch is an understated part of her look, by itself and not highlighted, but it perfectly balances out the bracelets she is wearing on her other wrist, and the shot just would not seem the same without it. Think styles by Chanel and Michael Kors (their iconic rose gold watch would be perfect to achieve this look with.)

Do you like to change up the styles and fashions with your watch, or are you a 'one and done type' of girl with your wrist wear? (Also, kudos to those of you who can tell me what hit ABC show I have lifted that expression from!) 

This is a featured post. To read my policy on featured posts, please click here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Outfit Post: Band Of Outsiders (Or, Why You Should Take The Time To Shop At Opening Ceremony)

This blog post is about a skirt. A very beautiful skirt, and a skirt that has joined the ranks of the nicest skirts I own, an exclusive club that before this skirt only my brightly coloured AW12 Whistles skirt boasted membership. Let me tell you the pocket version of the story behind this beautiful number by up and coming Los Angeles design house Band Of Outsiders. My friend Evie, visiting from San Francisco really wanted to visit Opening Ceremony's Los Angeles store, and I really didn't. As awesome as Opening Ceremony is, most of the clothes they sell are way too hipster for my liking, so I really was not fussed about trekking all the way down the dodgy end of La Cienga Boulevard just to look at avent garde and hipster clothes I couldn't afford anyway.
However, as Evie was my guest I gracefully kept my mouth shut (NB. to any of my close friends who may be reading this, I am capable of being tactful occasionally, you know!) and guided her to the store, and while we wandered around most of it, tried not to appear bored (god the store is huge, to me at the time it seemed never ending!). Okay, on the ground floor I discovered that Keds do some quite lovely clothing (how did I never know they did not just make shoes?!) and I coveted a beautiful Sophie Hulme trench that was several hundred dollars out of my budget. On the second floor, I noticed a sale room and thought it could not hurt to look through the racks. First I found a rather lovely Proenza Schouler black dress in my size that was actually reduced to $200 - almost within my price range, and if if had been about $50 dollars cheaper I would have tried it on - what a bargain! It was on the other side of the room my eyes first fell on this masterpiece of tweed. I love tweed skirts, I already own several, and while I fingered the fabric I thought it could not hurt to glance at the size and the price. It was not like I'd be able to afford to consider it, or it would actually fit me, anyway. But, it was a (large) size 1. And only $104, down from $345. After checking out the price conversion on my iPhone (£65 down from about £220) I decided it would not hurt to try it on.
Skirt: Band Of Outsiders, Tee: American Apparel, Necklace: Forever 21, Watch: Citizen, Nail Polish: Essie 'Where's My Chauffeur'

As you can tell, in the fitting room I discovered it fit like a glove, and from that moment on I started to fall in love with the garment. Evie talked me into buying it out loud, but I think I was already doing it in my head. While in England, I would pay that for the skirt in a heartbeat, there is just something about something being over $100, even through I know a dollar is worth less than a pound that just gets me. I clung to it and would not let the shop attendent put it by while we finished browsing, and I smiled all the way home with it. 

As you can see, the very next day I styled it with a loose American Apparel tee and a lovely blue neckless I picked up in Forever 21 when I was having a not so good week at the end of last year, and I felt really really happy in my outfit all day. As those of you who are familiar with the city will no doubt be able to tell, I took these photos in Chris Burden's Urban Light installation outside the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art; the LA fashion bloggers favourite outfit post location. I was there to see the Caravaggio exhibition; it was very good, and I'd recommend it as a good intro to his work, but as there were not many paintings actually by him on display, and only one of his famous ones, I don't think it was worth the $20 entry.  

And the moral of this story is, always take time to look in stores such as Opening Ceremony even if you don't think you're 'hipster' enough to wear their clothing - you might just come away with a total gem! Opening Ceremony have stores in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and London.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Toast, West Hollywood

I think I have found my new favourite restaurant in Los Angeles. Before visiting I'd heard a lot about Toast on the West Hollywood stretch of the stylish 3rd Street; that the food was amazing, and that is was where all the 'cool' people and 'celebrities' hung out. However, it was when my friend Evie, a friend from London, visiting from the San Francisco sat down to peruse our menus, and could both smell all of the absolutely delicious food being delivered to the tables around us did we know that we were going to really, really enjoy our meal.
While there was simply so much on the menu we both could have happily eaten our way through, we both ended up going for a serving of Shakshuka; beautifully presented in miniature skillets and serves with lots of warm, fresh bread to scoop up the delicious roasted tomatoes, garlic and the deliciously runny eggs. There are also other food pictures in this post. Okay, so we may or may not have eaten at Toast twice that week...
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I like that Los Angeles is a place that, regardless of the time of year you can choose to sit in the sunshine.
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Each breakfast egg dish on the menu comes with a choice of a chopped salad, fried potatoes or fruit on the side. Evie did not want hers, so I chose to have the potatoes and the salad as it was supposed to be a lunchtime affair. However, looking across at other tables next time I thought I was going to get an Egg Scramble and some fruit on the side, but we actually went back for another lunch at Toast later in the week.
Served with sweet potato fries, I think Toast's Classic Hamburger has to be one of the best burgers I've ever had. It was sweet, succulent  meaty and perfectly cooked to the medium rare I requested. I cannot think how they could have made it better! It might have ruined me for all other burgers in the future.
Second time round Evie went for the granola. She gave me a piece. It was rather delicious! Also, served with fresh fruit and yogurt, doesn't it look like the ultimate brunch dish? Those sliced strawberries and blueberries are making my mouth water by just looking at the photo.

Angelenos, or anyone else who regularly visits Los Angeles on a regular basis, if you have not already been for a meal at Toast, do so as soon as possible; I promise you you won't regret, or forget it! Toast can be found at 8221 West 3rd Street between North La Cienega Boulevard and South Crescent Heights Boulevard. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Weekly Love: Week 126

I have seen a awful lot of Los Angeles this week. This only half accounts for the super bumper edition of 'Weekly Love' this week! My friend Evie from London came to stay via San Francisco, so we've been out every day exploring and eating in so many of the amazing restaurants this fantastic city has to offer; look out for lots of food posts coming soon! I hope everyone back in England has been staying warm; I'm so glad I don't have to deal with all the snow this year! However, we did have about a week of uncharacteristically bitingly cold weather, but I'm sorry to say for all of you back home, the traditional LA sunshine is back in full force!
1. I love the amazing new Madewell store at The Grove in Beverly Hills. | 2. Wearing my J.Crew boots and favourite Whistles skirt, waiting outside The Sycamore Kitchen. | 3. Cold January days call for brightly coloured working lunches. | 4. Brunch at Toast in West Hollywood, my new favourite place to eat in Los Angeles: a full post about the restaurant to follow soon! | 5. Goodies from TLT, my favourite take away place in Westwood. I am munching on my leftovers from that massive dish of their amazing Steak Fries you can see in the picture as I type! | 6. Classic Los Angeles palm trees.

I spent a lot of time creating content, and working on post ideas for 2013 over Christmas, but after looking at the comments, Tweets and emails I got from a lot of you on my post about why I think bloggers should never take their blog for granted saying they really liked reading a bit more personal posts and I should do more of them, I have decided that I am going to take some time in posts to talk about bits of my life and my experiences - I certainly got a lot of feedback for my two part post I did for The High Tea Cast about my experience 'rushing' an American sorority! Something I seem to get loads of questions about, is what it was like to attend a boarding school, and I think now I've been out of school for about a year and a half, I can finally write about the experience of those 8 years of my childhood and teens subjectively  so if anyone has any questions, anything they'd like to know about boarding school life and my experiences feel free to comment on this post, sent me a Tweet or email me - I'm planning the post for the end of the month. 
This photo is from a photo shoot I did with the amazing Nicole Anderson after she interviewed me for a profile on her brand new blog; The Portraiteer where she profiles up and coming creatives, mostly based in LA but in other places too. I just want to take this moment to thank Nicole for featuring me, and for the amazing afternoon I spent with her working towards this feature. To see more photos from our afternoon, and read the interview with me, click here. Just an FYI, that afternoon I was wearing a Whistles skirt, Boden top, J.Crew boots, a trench coat from Benetton which was a gift from the guys at Zalando last Spring, and my bag and necklace are both from Hobbs - one of my go to outfits when I want to look a little glamourous! 
7. A California classic; the In-N-Out burger, a little treat for lunch before my first class of the year! | 8. I spend way too much of my time in Georgetown Cupcake inhaling their chocolate ganache cupcakes. | 9. Testing the American version of the Easter Classic; the Cadbury Creme Egg. My verdict? Way, way too sweet! | 10. My first Starbucks of 2013. | 11. Raspberry and Ginger Scones made from The Joy The Baker Cookbook.  | 12. Checking out the brand new Isabel Marant store on Melrose Place.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? I'm heading down to Venice Beach tomorrow, and on Sunday I'm going to start work on my paper for my Milton class. Also, I'm really looking forward to the third episode of Mr Selfridge on Sunday night, it is amazing to see the story behind my favourite department store of all time!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Outfit Post: Joules Quilted Jackets (Or, Yes! It Gets Cold In LA!)

I know I can't really complain as while everyone back home has snow to contend with at the moment, I get to deal with the somewhat milder weather we get to enjoy here in Southern California. However, I wanted to take a post to both dispel the myth that it is always hot and sunny in Los Angeles (it has actually been pretty cold this week, I've needed to both layer and snuggle up to stay warm), and to share my continuing love for the wonderfully stylish and versatile wardrobe item that is the ladies quilted jacket. Last year I practically lived in the one I picked up from Hobbs, but this year it is all about this fun green number the ladies at Great British brand Joules were kind enough to send my way a few weeks ago for me to enjoy if it ever got cold enough!
What I love about this jacket is the details. A few years ago I'd never have worn something this loud, but now I kind of love it. I love the cord details over the pockets, the plush zipper and especially the beautifully bright floral linking; it makes my habit of constantly turning up my sleeves into a fashion statement. I also got a compliment on it from one of the girls working in the new Isabel Marant store on Melrose Place. That can only mean kudos to the jacket. The green also contrasts fantastically with this bright purple jumper.
Quilted Jacket: c/o Joules,  Sunglasses: Alexander McQueen c/o Sunglasses Shop, Scarf: Street Stall, Jumper: Madewell, Pale Purple Layering Tank Top: c/o Splendid, Jeans: Levi's, Handbag: Hobbs, Nail Polish: Essie 'Where's My Chauffeur?'

You see? I'm wearing a tank top (Splendid sent me a couple when I first moved here; they are super soft and amazing for layering), a medium weight jumper, my old school scarf and a pretty warm jacket. And I have J.Crew leather ankle boots on my feet. If you ignore the sunglasses (always a must against the LA sun), not the wardrobe you'd expect the SoCal, right ? Myth dispelled. At least for now until it heats up in a few weeks!

Where is your current go to coat or jacket from, and for my London readers, what are you doing to keep warm?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My 5 Favourite Los Angeles Shopping Destinations

As much as the next girl (and probably a little bit more) I love to shop. Even if I'm not spending any money, I can never get enough of window shopping. It is a great way to just step away from everything that is going on, and also to find ideas and inspiration for my blog. When I was living in London and I just wanted to get out of my flat, I always jumped on the Central Line an headed either East to Westfield Stratford City (I must be one of the few fashion orientated Londoners who actually prefers shopping in Stratford to White City) or West to Regents Street, Carnaby Street and my spiritual home; Selfridges. When I was at home in the countryside and I needed to get out, I always got in my car and drove to Canterbury. Now I've been living in Los Angeles for a good few months, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite places to either go and shop, or to window shop, that you can keep in mind if you're a shopaholic like me and ever visiting the city!
The Farmers Market
1. The Farmers Market

I think the fact that what used to be a fashion blog when I started it almost four years ago has almost totally morphed into a foodie blog with little bits of fashion, travel and some outfit posts thrown in stands testament to how much I love anything and everything to do with food. The 5th entry on this shopping hotspot roundup is The Grove shopping mall, but my favourite thing about visiting The Grove is not the shops that are there; but The Farmers Market that is attached to it. They have restaurants and street food stalls for every and every world food destination as well as a brilliant gourmet and hard to find food stores, and a brilliant fresh product market. When I stop by I always pick up French Bread, Belgium Chocolate and Italian Passata from Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market (their attached restaurant is really good too, they also have a branch at the J.Crew & Apple Store end of 3rd Street).
3rd Street Santa Monica
2. 3rd Street, Santa Monica

Out of all of the shopping destinations on my list, if I'm after a straightforward shopping experience with the largest selection of shops, it is the famous 3rd Street just a few blocks away from the ocean in Santa Monica I'll always head for. What is more, with their massive Sephora, spacious J.Crew and their newly opened Madewell store, they now have all of my favourite stores in one place, as well as almost every other shop you can think of. The surrounding streets also have some brilliant stores, as well as the best T.J.Maxx for designer clothes I've ever been in (does anyone know why T.K.Maxx in the UK is T.J.Maxx in the USA?) And if you get bored of shopping, you can always hit up Santa Monica's famous pier. Just a thought! 
Westfiled Century City
3. Westfield, Century City

There are lots of other awesome things about this particular Westfield (I don't think I'll ever be able to look Stratford City and White City back in London in the same way ever again, this one is more like an open air shopping village, think White City without the stupidly busy indoor bit. Also, as there is way more shopping destinations in Los Angeles, it is much quieter and less crowded), but the one draw for me is that they have J.Crew where I can get a student discount with my UCLA Bruin Card, and a Madewell store basically next to each other. There is also a pretty Kate Spade boutique, and it is the opposite side of Santa Monica Blvd. to my favourite of the two Sugar Paper, Los Angeles stores so you can go and stock up on cute stationary in the same trip; two rather beautiful shopping birds killed with one stone!
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4. Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice

While most of my favourite destinations are pretty generic and predictable as far as what stores are available are concerned, if you're after a little something different and indie, you cannot go wrong with Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard. I always make my first stop Local 1205 to pick up one of their mason jars full of fresh pressed juice and a straw to sip as I wander up and down the street checking out the eclectic mix of independent stores, high end boutiques and the most amazing little curiosities and homewares store.
The Grove
5. The Grove

Right next to The Farmers Market, if I loved The Grove when I first moved to Los Angeles, I absolutely adore it now. As well as my favourite stores like J.Crew and Madewell, there is a really good Banana Republic  a brilliant Gap, and the Forever 21 there actually sells some of the nicer, classier items from their collections. There is also some great restaurants  a massive cinema, a Barnes & Noble (it is pretty hard to drag me away from a bookshop at the best of times, and this one has many floors and a fantastic cookery section) and there are always events going on in the lovely courtyard that makes The Grove into more of a shopping village than a mall, even complete with a little train that goes around. It looked fantastic over Christmas with all the lights on display, and they even had fake snow falling some evenings!

Angelenos, where are your favourite shopping spots in the city, and do you have any to recomend to me? (Preferably on the Westside, as it is hell getting around without having a car!)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: The Sycamore Kitchen

On Thursday afternoon I agreed to meet photographer Nicole Anderson so she could profile me for her new project; The Portraiteer, a lovely blog profiling bloggers and their creative stories and inspirations, accompanied by some of Nicoles beautiful portraits of their meeting. I had a wonderful afternoon shooting with Nicole, but more on that later. For now, I want to talk about the place we met. She let me choose the location for our meeting, and as I'd seen a couple of delicious dishes popping up in my Instagram feed all tagged as being taken at 'The Sycamore Kitchen', I agreed to meet Nicole at this lovely sounding and very photogenic eatery in La Brea for a bite to eat and a chat before we headed out to take photos.
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While I managed to restrain myself in the end, when I was at the counter to place my order, I had it in my mind that I was going to pick up some of their delicious and mouthwatering cakes and pastries to take away with me; how amazing do these look? In retrospect, I regret not sampling a piece of that Coconut Layer Cake.
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I always love photos people take and post on their blogs, or their Instagram feeds of cappuccinos, but I myself don't drink coffee, so I was excited when Nicole ordered one that I could happily shoot away at. I think it is just that mass of smooth yet light foam with the different shades of coloured swirls on top that just captivate me.
For my refreshment, I had one of their house specials; Ginger Limeade. It was absolutely delicious, something I'd recommend picking up if you happen to be passing. It is rapidly becoming a simple fact in my mind that to have a delicious pressed juice, ginger must be added to the mix in some shape or form to give it that kick.
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Usually when I'm visited a place to review, I like to scope out the menu online first, so I arrive at the restaurant or the cafe with a good idea of what I'm going to order. I was thinking a salad, but that idea went right out the window and spied an item that seemed both delicious  and slightly unusual that I must have overlooked. I ordered the Roasted Chicken Breast, Green Olive Tapenade, Meyer Lemon Confit, Tomato, Frisse and Mayonaise on Country Bread. I think it was the lemon that struck me as an unusual addition, but its balance of sharpness and sweet in every bite made it the very best bit of the sandwich.
I've borrowed this photo from Nicole's Instagram Feed. It perfectly demonstrates what it is like to go out to eat someplace with me. Not only do I have to get my massive DSLR camera out of my bag to take photographs of the food and the restaurant for the blog, but I have to whip out my iPhone to Instagram my meal too!
Finally getting to bite into that sandwich; it was delicious, the lemons really added something to it, and I don't think I can remember the last time I had a sandwich that good. And for my readers in my hometown of Canterbury, yes I mean this sandwich was much better than anything you could possibly put together from C.J's or Canteen. My only qualm with it was it was quite a messy eat, the sandwich dripped quite a bit, so god knows what I looked like trying to eat it while I was trying to respond to interview questions at the same time!

Angeleno's, have you visited The Sycamore Kitchen yet? What is your favourite item on their menu? The Sycamore Kitchen can be found at 143 South La Brea Avenue, just below West 1st Street.